Liverpool FC have unveiled their vision for a redeveloped Anfield stadium, that could eventually take the new capacity to around 59,000.
The proposals centre around an initial expansion of the Main Stand, the oldest stand at Anfield, which will see an increase of 9,000 seats to take the new capacity after stage one to 54,000.
The club restated:
We confirmed our commitment to work in partnership with Liverpool City Council and Your Housing Group in their delivery of the Anfield regeneration project
After a period of consultation Liverpool hope to apply to the council this summer for planning permission.
The new three-tiered Main Stand will accommodate 20,500 supporters. The club outline its benefits:
- Increased access to tickets
- Modernised concourses
- More hospitality offers
- Improved catering choices
- Improved disabled access and more wheelchair viewing positions
- Attractive open public space
The plan will see the Shankly Gates moved, and after consultation with the Hillsborough families, the Hillsborough flame and memorial will be moved to a special cloister area of the new Main Stand. The club will house a retail store, a new ticket office, and supporters will be able to travel to upper tiers on escalators.
One other famous part of the ground will change. The famous Anfield 'tunnel' will be widened.
There will be a lot more corporate areas in the new stand - currently the majority of LFC's corporate clients use the facilities in the oppposing Centenary Stand.
The cost of this could be around £100M although LFC expect to sell the naming rights to the stand, not the stadium, to reduce costs. Work will hopefully start in early 2015 and be completed by the start of the 2016-17 season. The club hope disruption to current stadium capacity will be kept to a minimum.
If the demand for tickets is still there they will press on with the regeneration of the Anfield Road stand which could add a further 5,000 seats taking total capacity to just under 60,000.
Supporters will be thrilled to know that both the Shankly statue, and seemingly The Albert pub are unaffected by these expansion plans!
LFC's Managing Director Ian Ayre said:
“It’s absolutely a significant step forward.
“With the club stepping forward on the pitch this season it’s fitting and great that we’re able to feel that we’re making progress on the stadium.
“We’ve said all the way along that we’ll have to have certainty and we’re careering towards certainty on (acquiring) the properties.
“We are going into a consultation process on planning and then the next level of certainty for us, post the properties, is the planning stage. We can’t just presume that we’ll get planning but again we’d like to be optimistic about that.
“It would be fantastic for the football club and the fans if we can continue our progress on the pitch and with the stadium because hand in hand they support each other.
“We set out a very clear set of objectives and time scales to achieve what we want to achieve on the stadium and it’s very much on track.
“It’s very pleasing that, although for the fans it feels like it’s been a 10-year wait, under this ownership we’ve been at this in earnest for two to two and a half years and we’ve made progress in keeping with the plan we set.
“We have fantastic support and there is massive demand for tickets. The style of football also means people are clamouring to get through the doors.
"This is phase one and if that works then we will step forward again.”
The brick-work has been specifically designed to fit in with the other stands around the famous ground.